The University of Minnesota Law School proudly announced the creation of a “Gun Violence Prevention Clinic”. The announcement on December 8th states their belief that it is first for US law schools and it will be headed by Everytown Law alumna Megan Walsh. Walsh is currently a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at the school.
From the announcement on the clinic’s role:
The clinic will utilize student pro bono legal work to support and litigate cases that help reduce injuries, deaths, and trauma resulting from gun violence. A three-year pilot project, the clinic seeks to spur law school and law student engagement in firearms law and the Second Amendment; establish a home for gun violence prevention litigation in the Great Lakes area; and grow the pool of litigation expertise and legal resources available for Second Amendment and gun violence prevention matters.
Walsh amplifies on the pro bono work saying, “Litigation in this area is needed to challenge extreme gun laws, to combat the disproportionate effect of gun violence on BIPOC communities, and to provide a counterweight to the gun lobby in the courts.” It should be noted that not only did she work for Everytown but she served as the Moms Demand Action “BE Smart” lead for Minnesota. That program is their campaign on “responsible gun ownership.”
The law school dean, Garry W. Jenkins, calls this clinic “novel and exciting”. He goes to say it will help students develop “a deep reservoir of knowledge on Second Amendment jurisprudence.” Somehow I think that this knowledge will be one-sided.
The clinic will partner with the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) on litigation.
The Gun Violence Prevention Clinic will partner with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office on Second Amendment cases and on affirmative litigation brought by the Attorney General to reduce gun violence in Minnesota. This partnership will give students the opportunity to work with the Attorney General’s office to create safer communities in Minnesota through litigation, with the students serving as Special Assistant Attorney Generals under the supervision of the clinic.
Known funding for this clinic comes from the anti-gun Joyce Foundation and the McKnight Foundation ($300,000). The announcement refers to “other funders”. That leads to the first question in the list below.
Here are a list of questions that should be asked about the clinic.
- Who are the other “funders” of the Gun Violence (sic) Prevention Clinic?
- How much was given to the clinic by the Joyce Foundation? They don’t list the grant on their website.
- Will the clinic be seeking appropriated money from the Minnesota Legislature? If so, how much?
- How much of the Office of Attorney General’s budget will be devoted to this clinic?
- How much appropriated money from the University of Minnesota be allocated to this clinic? Or, will it only be grant-supported?
- Who approached whom to start this clinic?
- What is the role of Everytown in this clinic?
- Will the Brady Law Project and Giffords Law also be involved?
- What does Walsh consider “extreme gun laws”?
- Will the clinic be working with the US Attorney’s Office and BATFE to prosecute straw purchasers?
- Will the clinic be promoting litigation to close gun stores?
- Who will be paying for the anticipated amicus briefs filed in cases opposing the flood of litigation opened up by the Bruen decision?
- Given Walsh is a graduate of Duke University School of Law, will the clinic be coordinating efforts with the Duke Center for Firearms Law?
The clinic goes live in January 2023. There will be many more questions that can be raised and that will need answers. In the meantime, I understand Minnesota has a fairly strong public records law and I intend to use it. If anyone in Minnesota wants to help with this, just leave a comment.